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14 August 2013 @ 09:24 pm
Requested Tutorials (Part 1)  
Hi all! I've had many requests for tutorials, here and at Ask the Maker, and these are the first two! Neither one is too long, and I hope you find them helpful! :)

Requested by julie_izumi

This is one of those icons that was really a happy accident. I was playing with a few different things and things just happened to turn out in a way that I like. Here is the first cap I used (from grande_caps)

I start by cropping the first cap into a medium close-up.

It's a pretty boring crop so I know I want to add something more extreme to make things interesting. I decide to add a Gradient Fill layer of #74d6ff to transparent, and keep it set to Normal.

Next I want to add another cap of Alison in the empty space. I decide on this one:

So, I want to put some stuff on the right side of the icon, over top of the gradient. I planned on just adding a cutout of Alison, but then I see that nice looking tree on the left side of the cap. I end up flipping the cap and positioning the tree on the left side, setting the cap to Multiply and using it like a stock image.

I like how the colours are looking on the left, and the way the horizon actual kind of looks like another texture on the bottom. However, the little Alison in the bottom left corner isn't working.

I start thinking that I should just smudge her out...

...but then I change my mind and instead add the same cap again. This time I position Alison on the right side, and set this cap to Darken. I then use the paint brush to cover up the parts of the cap I don't want (the smudged Alison, and the extra scratchy parts on the sky):

This layer that I've just made gets set to Multiply.

I want to change the colours to be a bit more purple and dark on the left side, so I add another gradient, this one is #16001b to transparent, and on a slight angle.

Keeping it on Normal is a bit too much so I change the purple layer to Soft Light 50%.

Next I add a Curves adjustment layer on top of everything to brighten it up.

I add another Curves adjustment layer with nothing changed set to Overlay to add some contrast.

I want even more contrast because I really did mute things a lot with my initial blue gradient, so I add yet another Curves layer with nothing changed, this time set to Soft Light 60% Opacity.

At this point I look at the left side of the icon and it's really green. I want the icon to be more cyan, and there are a few ways to correct this, but I decide to add a Black-to-White Gradient Map, and set it to Screen 40%. This mutes all of the colours and also makes it brighter.

Though I like what this did with the colours, it might be too bright now so I add some Curves to darken it up.

And then I decide it's a bit too dark so I add some more Curves to lighten it again (sorry).

I'm just not really happy with the left side of the icon at all, there's too much going on, and the right side is pretty busy already, so I decide I should make the left side darker. On a new layer I use a soft brush to paint over the left in black and then set that layer to Soft Light. I don't want to lose the entire edge of her face, just most of it.

It's looking better at the bottom of the icon, but the top left cover is still way to bright so I cover that part up with another black layer.

Finally, it's time to fix the colours: I love the cyans, but the whole left side of the icon is too green. I paint over the left side again with black, but this time set it to Color, 50% opacity. That dulls down the green.

Resize to 100x100 and you're done! :)

Requested by jsfunction and a_cheshire_grin

This icon is made with this cap (from grande_caps). It's a very pretty cap but also pretty popular, so I knew I wanted to do something a bit different with it. This icon was made for 20inspirations and luckily the Inspiration Post had some lovely textures in it.

I start by cropping this texture by cleamour to 200x200 like so:

Then I thought about it some more and realized that maybe I wanted a darker background, so I tried a different texture instead - this, by elphielein, inverted:

Neither texture was really working for me on it's own, so I set the blue one to Darken on top of the pink one, and ended up with this:

There was a lot of fiddling I'm sure, moving the textures around until they were positioned in a way I was happy with, but this was the result. I also wanted to add some more contrast so I added a new Curves Adjustment Layer set to Overlay.

As you can see, even though the background looks complicated, it's really not! (and as you'll likely see in some upcoming tutorials, many of my icons which look simple actually have a million steps xD). Next I flipped and cut out Sarah the cap - I did it with the cap full-size using the Pen Tool, but here it is on a white background just to show you:

Not my best cutout, but it gets the job done; her face looks good at least, which is the most important part. And here it Sarah on top of the background:

I like how it looks around her face, the brightness of the face contrasts well with the dark patch of background behind her. But I don't like how the blackness of her hair and shoulder cuts into the lovely bright colours of the textures. I end up setting my Sarah layer to Lighten so that the bright parts show through (again, I'm sure there was a lot of fiddling, moving stuff around so that her face was visible, but all I have left to show you is how it eventually turned out).

I still need to add some colouring to Sarah so I start by adding a Curves layer to brighten up the cap. I don't want to brighten the background, just Sarah, so I connect it to her with a Clipping Mask (with the Curves layer selected, hold down Alt-Ctrl-G). (EDIT: If you're a beginner to using Clipping Masks and want a more detailed explanation of what they do/how they work, I wrote up a mini-tutorial here)

Duplicate the Curves layer, making sure it's still clipped to Sarah.

Add another Curves layer but this time don't change any of the Curves. Set this layer to Overlay and again, clip it to Sarah.

If you've done this right, your layers palette should look like this:

(The arrows on the three Curves layers show that they're clipped to the Sarah layer)

Add a layer of Vibrance +100 to punch up the colours. I want this to be on the whole icon, not just Sarah, so I don't clip it this time. (Normally I set my Vibrance layers to Color but I prefer it on Normal in this situation because I like what it does to the background)

I want a little more brightness in the top left corner so next I added a texture by navras_rheya set to Screen:
(The original texture was only 100x100 but since it's just a light texture, I stretched it to 200x200 and then blurred it to make it smoothed out)

I didn't love how brown it turned out, so I inverted the texture and then set it to Soft Light 30% to add more blue back in.

And that's it! Resize to 100x100 and you're done!

I have tutorials half-written for these three so they'll hopefully be the next ones posted! (they are much longer, that's why there's such a delay) :D

Please let me know if you need any clarification on any of the steps in either of these tutorials, and also let me know if you found them helpful! :)
緑: Music // EXO-M Lay 1a_cheshire_grin on August 15th, 2013 09:04 am (UTC)
Both tutorials are so interesting to read! Thank you especially for the second one (because I was one of the people, who requested it).

Just one question: This one step in which you "clipped" the curves layers to the Sarah layer...how can you do this? I have seen it so many times already, but I just have no clue how I get there. And what does this "clipping" do?
Argh, such a "rookie question", but I would be thankful for an explanation!!
Dayna: got; sansa; stop it both of youdaynawashere on August 15th, 2013 10:52 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! And don't worry about being confused about clipping, it's not a rookie question at all! I was using Photoshop for years before I even knew it existed! I'll try to give you a more straightforward example so you can get the hang of it. (By the way, I only have Photoshop, so if you have a different program I'm not sure how it would work)

Let's say I'm making an icon with a cutout on top of a background:

+ >>

If I wanted to make just the background black and white, I could add a Gradient Map in between Scott and the background:


And if I wanted to make the whole thing black and white, I would add a gradient map on top of everything:


What a Clipping Mask allows you to do is make an adjustment layer that only affects the top layer and nothing underneath it - in this case, it will make Scott black and white without affecting the background. In the layers palette, it will look like there's an arrow connecting the Gradient Map to Scott. Basically, the top layer, the layer that is "clipped" will take on the shape of the layer it's clipped to.


I know of two ways to get a layer to "clip" to another one. One is to have the top layer selected (in this case the Gradient Map) and then either go to Layer >> Create Clipping Mask, or hold down Alt-Ctrl-G.

The second way, which is quicker in my opinion, but more complicated to explain, is to hover your mouse in between the two layers you want clipped together - in this case, the point of the mouse right on the line between Gradient Map and Scott on the Layer Palette, like I've circled in the diagram:

While the mouse is in that position, hold down the Alt key and then click. If your mouse is in the right spot, it will change from a pointer shape into a different shape (either two circles on top of each other or a square with an arrow, depending on which version of Photoshop you have). To unclip a layer, just repeat this step.

Here's another way you can use clipping masks - if you have some sort of shape on a transparent background (like text) and then you want to add a texture to it:

The purple texture has now taken on the shape of the text because it's been clipped.

Does this make sense? It's the kind of thing you really need to try for yourself to make sure you get it. Please let me know if you need further clarification! :)
the_silverdoe on August 15th, 2013 11:21 am (UTC)
Thanks for writing these! I've picked a couple of tricks I'll definitely try :)
Dayna: luther; john/alice; battle of witsdaynawashere on August 15th, 2013 10:53 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! Glad to hear you picked up some tricks :D
(Anonymous) on August 15th, 2013 09:41 pm (UTC)
Dayna: got; sansa; stop it both of youdaynawashere on August 15th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! :)
bárbara ✵: pic#121297509zackkaddy on August 15th, 2013 09:42 pm (UTC)
Dayna: got; sansa; stop it both of youdaynawashere on August 15th, 2013 10:54 pm (UTC)
You're welcome! I hope you found it useful! :D
M: C ∞ Dancy Flammarionspankulert on August 16th, 2013 03:26 pm (UTC)
Always interesting to poke my nose in other people's process, thanks for sharing :)